Welcome to Thoughts from the Road. Here’s Katia Alvim on finding comfort zones and ‘traps’ on the road…
I’m Katia, a Brazilian-Italian motorcycle traveller incapable of settling down. I retired from the military after 32 years of service in the Brazilian Air Force, sold my possessions and my motorcycle became my home. Detaching from life’s comforts wasn’t easy, but it was liberating. I’ve been travelling for three years across the Americas with one year and six months of ‘forced’ internment in Canada due the pandemic. And it’s now been a year and six months since I left Canada and am currently in Uruguay, coming back from Ushuaia, Argentina – again!
Check out Katia’s awesome adventures on her Facebook page: Nomad Katia
Comfort Zones and Traps
What is the definition for long-term travel? For some, it’s a few months and for others it’s years. But, no matter the length, at some point in your journey you’ll find a spot that will hold you like a spell. It could be a campground, hotel, a friend’s house… but it will keep you and you’ll start postponing when to leave…
It’s a comfort zone, like your body and spirit feel familiarity in that place and you can put your awareness to rest for a while. You don’t even look for this place, you just bump into it. But it’s necessary to recharge your batteries.
It happens to everyone (often more than once), but it’s more frequent with solo motorcycle travellers. I guess when you travel with a partner, the simple fact that you’re sharing the trip, both experiencing the same chain of events and can talk about it will bring a sense of this ‘comfort zone’ to the adventure itself.
But, as mentioned, it will happen to any long-term traveller (solo or not) and will act as a kind of trap because it will prevent you from continuing on your journey – at least for a while.
What’s important here is that this is a good thing! Well, as long as you don’t use this ‘trap’ as an excuse to keep on postponing your leaving forever!
We all know some of these famous traps dotted around the world such as overlander campgrounds and guesthouses etc. I won’t mention them, instead I’ll tell you about a few personal experiences I’ve been through as a solo traveller.
There was a humble family in Mexico. They provided me shelter and food in a home that didn’t even have a water system. They had to bring water in to the house in small containers. I didn’t shower for five days because I didn’t want to use their scarce supply. Yet, there was such a sense of family and love that it was difficult to leave.
I arrived in Colombia in the rainy season. There were many landslides along unfamiliar roads and I felt the need to establish a base where I could get a couple of hours of riding in a day before the rain fell. I got a fantastic deal in a cosy hotel in the mountains of Antioquia, owned by a couple that became my Colombian family.
Well, my stay turned out to last two months, helped by getting to know a few new friends too. This trap has been my longest one to date!
I recently met an Argentinian rider in a hotel. We rode together for a week and got trapped in a hotel in Vinchina, northwest Argentina. The plan was to stay three days, which quickly turned into a week. The comfort and warm welcome from the owner prevented us from leaving any earlier. There was just too much familiarity there.
It’s funny, we venture out into the world on our motorcycles to shake ourselves free of our comfort zones. But every now and then, we are reminded by our inner-self, even subconsciously) that we need to find one.
Those are the good traps every traveller is faced with. And what’s important is that you learn to just embrace them. There’s nothing wrong with taking time off the bike and living life in ‘comfort’. Just get back on the road when you’re ready, recharged and ready to take on whatever the road throws your way.
What do you think about comfort zones? Do you like taking time off the bike on your travels? Let us know in the comments below.
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14 thoughts on “Trapped in a Traveller’s Comfort Zone by Katia Alvim”
Travelling solo on 2 wheels is just the best experience. I agree 100% about the traps, wonderful places in time, and they will stay with you forever, even after leaving them behind. I think that’s what makes solo travelling so wonderful. Safe travels
I agree with you Jon and think that these places make all the difference to travels. Its certainly these experiences we remember the most.
Borits, the imprints are stronger! Stay safe!
Love it love it love it Yessss! Stop, rest up, rejuvinate the soul and spirit and continue on your way! It’s not all about riding the most miles without stopping. Thanks katia for this nice piece xxx
Thanks Hats, that’s the idea! Stay safe!
Beautiful “boutique style” hotels in the Colombian mountains outside of beautiful pueblos like Barichara or Salento or Filandia or Jericó. Where I can sip my coffee in the morning and look out over the jungle, valleys and mountains, and give Señorita Yamaha (and myself) a rest. Some of my favorite “traps” in Colombia: Akawanka Lodge, San Augustin; Gran Azul Eco Resort, Salento; Hotel Boutique Venturi, Barichara.
There are moments of loneliness, but also of beautiful solitude. For the first, the “traps” are a blessing! Stay safe, my friend!
You travel in a higher standard than I do, Joe…lol
Kidding, those beautiful comfort zones can just recharge you (and Señorita!) for the next legs. Stay safe, my friend!
Iguanas Ranas! (Mexican expression for igualmente, pero es posible que ya entiendas esto. Jaja.)
Ja ja saludos, Joe!
I agree 100% with the comments. I’m traveling alone through South America. And am currently caught in this trap. Even love is not innocent. But the journey will continue. Greetings to all travelers.
For sure! Safe travels!
I love this article because it resonates. We only planned on spending one night at a friend’s house in Rotorua, New Zealand, but ended up staying four nights (just left yesterday). It was hard to push ourselves to go and if we had time we’d stay longer.
You meet good people and have fun staying with them, you get comfortable at their place, it feels like home, you rest from the bike and like Katia says – you recharge.
Some people think it needs to be all go go go ride ride ride, but often it’s these moments you remember the most.
Great article, Katia 🙂
So glad you’ve enjoyed your friend’s company in New Zealand!